Shooting From A Rest

Caldwell Shooting Rest

When you have purchased a new rifle, added a new scope to one or are trying to determine the best bullet for your rifle, what is one of the most important factors in this equation? For those of you that are thinking, holding the gun perfectly still while shooting, are correct.


When I shoot to test a rifle, load, or new scope, I always place my hand gun or long gun on a rest while performing the test. The reason for this is to be sure you are holding the gun as still as you can.

 I hear a lot of people say, I don't need a rest to shoot straight and most of them are correct and in the woods while hunting how many of us have any more than a tree branch or shooting rest to support our guns.



When you are trying to determine how accurate the gun, scope or new bullet load is, you want to have that gun almost locked in to a steady position.

This part of your shooting IS NOT A COMPETITION TO SEE HOW GOOD YOU SHOT, so using a rest is okay.

You are trying to see how close your bullet gets to the place on the target where the cross hairs are pointing and we all know, if we move the gun on our end just a hair, the bullet placement on the other end can be off a bunch.


This is why I will only test new loads or sight in my loads whit my guns resting on a Caldwell rest. Caldwell has many rest, from handgun rest to the all and mighty Lead Sled.

 For my Handgun testing I like the Caldwell Handy Rest NXT.  This rest allows you to hold your handgun very still and keep the sights held tight on the target. I have had one of these for a good many years and it still works like the day it was new. I rate this product a 5 out of 5 as far as ease of use, durable and quality of product. The Caldwell Handy Rest NXT is an extremely versatile front rest. It is designed with a full six feet of elevation adjustment at 100 yards, a front sling stud clearance groove, and is constructed of durable, lightweight materials.The intuitive design includes a removable handgun support attachment that easily converts this rifle rest into a handgun rest.The front rest and handgun support feature a material that will not harm your valuable firearm yet also offers a steady shooting surface.



 Now think about this the next time you are working out a new bullet load or you have purchased a new rifle and you are trying to see what factory load shoots best in it.

You have your cross hairs on the target and as you squeeze the trigger, the end of the barrel moves 1/8 of an inch from where you had the cross hairs on the target. This little movement has made your bullet hit the target as much as several inches from where you thought it should depending how far down range your target is placed. If this happens, how can you get an accurate reading of this guns accuracy? This is why I think it is so important to use a rest when I test different bullet loads, either be it factory ammo or my hand loads. If you are shooting without a rest and getting groups of several inches, how are you going to be able to determine which bullet is the right one for that gun. On the other hand if you are using a rest, there will be no doubt in your mind that you are holding the gun steady.  Caldwell has several long gun rest from rest bags to the new Fire Control Full Length Rest. 


When I head to the range as I often do with a big bunch of hand loads in search of the perfect bullet for my newest gun, it is not uncommon for me to shoot 150 plus rounds at a sitting. Now how many of you would like to shoot that many rounds though a 30-06 without some sort of protection for your shoulder. After this kind of day, your shoulder would be like mush the next day as mine was once, prior to my best friend a the range, my Lead Sled. This shooting rest is without a doubt for the money the best purchase you can buy if you shoot a lot from a bench. You can shoot BIG BULLETS all day with little to no felt recoil. It can soften the recoil of a .308 so you think you are shooting a .22. My Lead Sled has had thousands of rounds of use and is still like it was new. I Rate the Lead Sled a 5+ out of 5. Goto this site to see these products and a great video on the Lead Sled.



I recently acquired a new rest made by Caldwell and it is kind of neat as to the way you can adjust it when sighting in a long gun. I has kind of a JOY STICK that allows you to fine tune your adjustment when you have your gun on it and you are over the gun looking down the sights at the target. This is neat because you can place you gun on it, make rough adjustments to get the sights close then get over the gun and fine tune your sights onto the target. To date, I have shot about 80 rounds using this rest and it does just like the ad states. It is easy to use and I highly recommend this rest. You can goto this link to see a short video on how this rest works.

Caldwell's team of engineers has developed a series of rifle rests that incorporate their new "Fire Control" mechanism. Fire Control" is an advanced alignment system that allows the shooter continual, one-hand adjustment of downrange crosshair alignment via a multi-directional control arm. The Fire Control mechanism allows continuous adjustment of the front fore grip support by manipulating the control arm with your fingertips. Once the coarse adjustments have been made to position the rest, the control arm allows fluid movement for precise crosshair alignment without having to change shooting position  or tighten rest components. The end result is unmatched control of crosshair alignment in a rock solid shooting platform which delivers better accuracy than any existing rest.


Results of a steady Caldwell Fire Control Rest with the results highly visible on the Orange Peel target


Quick and easy rest and one of the most used are the bag types. These are easy to use, and there is a style for just about every shooting situation and firearm. You can use one under the firearm, one under your elbow as a rest or stack them as I do sometimes to get more elevation. Bags will not provide you with the locked down steady feeling you get with a rest but for fun shooting, they work great. These are so versatile because you can throw them down on a log, your truck hood, the rail on your truck bed or almost any place you want to give you a little more support, steadiness and protection for you firearm while shooting.

The bottom line: Regardless of the type of rest you use, try to find one that you are able to hold you firearm perfectly still while shooting. This is the only way you are going to get the most accurate results. I even have a small bag in my tree stand to give me a little more support and protection to my fore grip while hunting and it fits perfectly on my stands shooting rail.


Jim Hammond
Shooting With Jim
904 757 7550

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